Tuesday, August 24, 2010
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The best way to chip the golf ball isn’t the way you might have been taught. In fact, chipping is arguably the most misunderstood aspect of scoring, mainly because there are countless ways to get the job done. Many golfers tend to follow a series of mechanics that have been taught through the years, starting with an extreme forward press of the hands (see photo above). If you do this, not only do you run the risk of stubbing the wedge into the turf, but it also makes solid contact harder to achieve.
Another misconception about proper chipping is laying the wedge flat on the ground with the sole on the ground. This too maximizes friction through the shot, again causing all sorts of possible in-consistencies through the shot.
The right way to chip is, in my opinion, also the easiest. Start by addressing the ball in a more neutral position, with the shaft still leaning toward the target, albeit less than before. A good rule of thumb is to address the hands slightly in front of the ball. As for proper ball position, play the ball in the back center of your stance.
By addressing the ball in a more neutral state, you’re allowing for a more natural, less-forced motion through the shot. To take it even further, consider how the clubhead rests on the ground. The trick is to avoid as much surface-area con-tact through the shot as possible. Lifting the heel slightly off the ground will help the wedge to glide through the shot with less chance of grass or debris getting in the way of the shot.
How far you stand from the golf ball also makes a big difference in your ability to hit good pitch and chip shots. And, like putting, getting the right direction is best attained by situating your eyes just inside the golf ball. This will help you better see the direction in which you want the ball to go, as well as help improve your posture so it becomes easier to rotate the club back and through the shot. Also, if you’re going to err one way or the other, err with the ball too far from rather than too close to you. If you get too close, you can’t swing freely through the ball.
|Get Your Wedges Fitted
Wedge fitting is just as important as any other club in the bag. Reason being, the average player hits numerous shots in a given round with his or her wedges, and having a proper fit can make a huge difference in how well they perform. The first place to look is in the wedge’s loft. Typically, players use wedges with anywhere between 56 and 60 degrees of loft. The key isn’t so much in exact lofts, but in separating your wedges by no more than three or four degrees. Start by checking the loft of your pitching wedge, and move up from there in loft increments of three or four degrees. This may mean adding a 52- or 54-degree gap wedge to your arsenal of wedges (the other two being a 56-degree and a 60-degree wedge). Second, check the bounce angles. If you like to pick it and avoid hitting it fat, stick with higher bounce angles. If you want more shotmaking capabilities, try lower-bounce models. And finally, make sure the length and lie angle of your wedges are right for your swing. If your wedges are too upright or flat, you’ll have a harder time being consistent.
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